Between must-have clothing and school essentials, back-to-school time can be as expensive as Christmas. Make back-to-school clothes shopping easier on your wallet by following these simple tips:
1. Ask your friends and relatives who have children a little older than yours if they have clothing they would like to sell. You may end up getting some free hand-me-downs.
2. Shop for clothing at yard sales. Begin looking in the summer for quality, brand-name and vintage clothing at extremely reasonable prices. Don’t be afraid to haggle to get the best price. Watch for signs that the owners may be smokers if this would be a concern for you.
3. Head to the mall to check the clearance racks at your favorite shops. Gymboree, Carter’s, Gap Kids, and Old Navy all offer steep discounts on clearance clothing, depending on the time of year. Summer can be a good time to get great deals; you might even pay less for new brand-name clothing than you would at used stores. Superstore and Walmart also have great prices on clearance clothing, but lack the prestigious brand name. The Sears online store often offers clearance sales; the drawback is that your child cannot try on the clothes.
4. Check online at sites like Craigslist for good-condition clothing for sale. Meet in a public place and pay cash for your purchases to avoid unpleasant surprises.
5. Try used stores and consignment shops if the yard sale and mall pickings are lean. Consignment shops such as Kidizen are generally the most expensive but the clothes may be in better condition. Mid-priced chains such as Once Upon a Child, Value Village and Talize specialize in used clothing and goods and have a fairly good selection. Bargain-basement Goodwill, The Thrift Store, Keepers and Bibles for Missions have extremely low prices, but the selection can vary.
6. For the latest, must-have clothing style, scan the flyers for back-to-school sales. Consider buying one outfit in the latest style for the first day of school if this is something that is important to your child. Choose an outfit that can be mixed and matched with the used clothing you have bought.
7. Buy two pairs of shoes for the price of one. Schools often require students to have both indoor and outdoor shoes. Find two-for-one deals at stores like Sport Chek and Sport Mart. Buy shoes new as wearing used ones can interfere with your child’s proper foot development.
For clothing that will last, choose clothing made of quality material that feels sturdy and avoid weak stitching. Follow these tips for a stylish, frugal beginning to the school year!